Categotry Archives: Holidays

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Repost: Céad Mílle Fáilte

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Categories: St. Patty's Day, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I originally posted this last year on St. Pat’s, and I still feel the same way. Enjoy my thoughts on Saint Patrick’s Day, Irishness, and green beer:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Now put down the dyed-green beer and listen up.

There was a time in my life when I would get bent out of shape at the idea of the green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and asinine “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” pins. That time has since passed.

In 2004, I had the distinct pleasure of going to Ireland with my blushing bride for our honeymoon. It was probably one of the happiest weeks of my life. We had a week of B&B vouchers, a rental car with unlimited miles, and no plans but to see where the road would take us. The narrow, winding roads took us to a beautiful old cemetery (or twelve) and  cows grazing in the ruins of some ancient building or another. The roundabouts lead us to the weight of history and the lightness of a fair pint of Harp. The path we chose crossed with Ute, the super friendly German tourist, and Anne and Michael, lovely proprietors of the Gables B&B. The stops on the road were at Gaby’s in Killarney (home of the most delicious seafood I’ve ever had in my entire life) and some God-forsaken hotel in Kilkenny (where we were served “a selection of local farm cheeses.” I can only assume the local farm was located in Hell.) We ate and drank and breathed Ireland for a week on the wing.

And while a week was not nearly enough, I felt a connection to that place that has not faded in the past five-some years. Hell, the people there all look like I look and have names like my name. More than my surname or big head, though, is a feeling of kindred spirit. You see, the Irish take the good with the bad and smile all the while. Irish history is full of examples of this mentality; dance a jig at your best friend’s wake, for he’d surely dance one at yours.

And as much as the faux-Irishness of the American St. Patrick’s Day pains me sometimes, I do so enjoy the holiday. Because for every green-beer swilling wannabe hooligan drowned in hops and yeast, another chap is getting his first taste of Yeats. For every nasty plate of corned beef and cabbage, somewhere else is served a proper shepherd’s pie. As Murphy, from the movie Boondock Saints, put it, “…it’s St. Patty’s Day, everyone’s Irish tonight.” So put on your silly pin and your green clothes if you must. Hell, if you’re cute, I may even French you ’cause you’re Irish!

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From Bitterness To Joy

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Categories: Family, Father's Day, Holidays, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Father’s Day used to be a source of bitterness and resentment for me. I was not born hating Father’s Day. I learned to despise it as a celebration of something I thought I never had.

My biological father, David Allen Duncan, has never been a part of my life. He left my mother and me before I was even a year old, so I have absolutely no memory of him. From what I understand, that’s probably for the best: most stories that I’ve heard about him paint a picture of an abusive, manipulative piece of shit. I don’t judge Mr. Duncan based on those stories, however. I judge him based on the things that I’ve experienced, the injustices he’s visited upon me personally.

Witness, wherefore, that this cocksucker never paid even the pittance of child support he was ordered to pay by the court in 1980. Behold, this asshole fled to Tennessee to escape his meager obligations as a father. Consider, this douchebag sired another child who bears his name but seven months after me. (Not that I’m particularly bitter. It’s really just the principle of the thing. Traditionally, the first-born son would carry the father’s name. I happen to love my first name. Being a Dave would be so blasé.)

Obviously, my actual father was not a source of happiness and love on Father’s Day. My erstwhile step-father was not much better.

My mother’s ex-husband, Erico Santiago, was, in some ways, a worse influence on my life than my absentee father. Whereas Allen was not present to love me and nurture me, Eric was available physically, but completely stonewalled emotionally. He came into my life when I was about five years old.

As a child, I tried every way I knew to make Rico love me. I was rewarded with indifference for my efforts. When I behaved in ways expected of me, I was met with silence. When I misbehaved, I was rewarded with physical abuse and neglect. I could fill an entire post with the blatant and subtle ways in which this man hated me, but there’d be no point to it over than to play upon your sympathies in a self-serving attempt at garnering your pity.

In time, I gave up trying with Eric. He had taught me, along with the absence of my actual father, that seeking validation from without was as pointless as seeking rain in the desert. I learned that the only sustainable sense of worth came from within.

On the other hand, my grandfather, Ed McCaskey, was one of the few men who showed me unconditional love and compassion when I was younger. His deep, booming voice comforted me when I needed it and corrected me when I needed that too. He made me understand that despite my flaws and errors, I was worthy of love and forgiveness.

My grandpa is also directly responsible for my enduring love of sci-fi. One of my earliest movie memories is watching the copy of the Star Wars trilogy he taped from TNT or TBS. My grandpa is also a Trekker from back in the day, and while I prefer the Next Generation, there is a certain fondness in my heart for Kirk, Bones, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Checkov et. al.

In a charming bit of serepidity, I became an ice hockey fan as a teenager; my grandfather is also a huge hockey fan. (He’s got season tickets to his local team, in fact.) As a kid, I never knew of his love for the sport, though it doesn’t surprise me. He’s from South Dakota. There’s not much to do there in the winter except for hockey. I only mention this to illustrate two points: 1) I regret that I didn’t spend more time with my grandpa before he moved to California, and 2) I may be more like my grandpa than I previously knew. That would make me very happy.

>>>2 paragraphs redacted to reflect my new reality<<<

My Grandpa McCaskey taught me that hard work is eventually rewarded. I’ve learned from him that one must stand up for what they believe in and that one cannot simply run away from one’s problems: they must be confronted and overcome. He’s taught me that one can be better than one’s past says they should be.

So yesterday’s Father’s Day was filled with joy in place of bitterness. Thinking about the father figures in my life, I reflected on the lessons I’ve learned from them. I hope to take what my past has taught me and raise my daughter to be strong, compassionate, hard-working, peaceful, geeky, persistent, and considerate.

I hope that when my daughter reflects on her childhood, she’s happy that I was her daddy.

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Céad Mílle Fáilte

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Categories: Holidays, St. Patty's Day, Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Now put down the dyed-green beer and listen up.

There was a time in my life when I would get bent out of shape at the idea of the green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and asinine “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” pins. That time has since passed.

In 2004, I had the distinct pleasure of going to Ireland with my blushing bride for our honeymoon. It was probably one of the happiest weeks of my life. We had a week of B&B vouchers, a rental car with unlimited miles, and no plans but to see where the road would take us. The narrow, winding roads took us to a beautiful old cemetery (or twelve) and  cows grazing in the ruins of some ancient building or another. The roundabouts lead us to the weight of history and the lightness of a fair pint of Harp. The path we chose crossed with Ute, the super friendly German tourist, and Anne and Michael, lovely proprietors of the Gables B&B. The stops on the road were at Gaby’s in Killarney (home of the most delicious seafood I’ve ever had in my entire life) and some God-forsaken hotel in Kilkenny (where we were served “a selection of local farm cheeses.” I can only assume the local farm was located in Hell.) We ate and drank and breathed Ireland for a week on the wing.

And while a week was not nearly enough, I felt a connection to that place that has not faded in the past five-some years. Hell, the people there all look like I look and have names like my name. More than my surname or big head, though, is a feeling of kindred spirit. You see, the Irish take the good with the bad and smile all the while. Irish history is full of examples of this mentality; dance a jig at your best friend’s wake, for he’d surely dance one at yours.

And as much as the faux-Irishness of the American St. Patrick’s Day pains me sometimes, I do so enjoy the holiday. Because for every green-beer swilling wannabe hooligan drowned in hops and yeast, another chap is getting his first taste of Yeats. For every nasty plate of corned beef and cabbage, somewhere else is served a proper shepherd’s pie. As Murphy, from the movie Boondock Saints, put it, “…it’s St. Patty’s Day, everyone’s Irish tonight.” So put on your silly pin and your green clothes if you must. Hell, if you’re cute, I may even French you ’cause you’re Irish!

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St. Valentine’s Day Poem

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Categories: Angst & Wrath, Poetry, Valentine's Day, Tags: , , , ,

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Sunday, I thought I would share one of my love poems with you. You can find this piece and over three dozen other poems in my chapbook, Angst and Wrath. You can buy a print or electronic copy of Angst and Wrath from my Lulu store for under fifteen bucks. What a deal!

I Think Of You

When I’m afraid,

I think of you.

When I’m alone,

I think of you.

When I’m frustrated,

I think of you.

I think of you

and your loving embrace.

I think of you

when I leave this place.

I think of you

and your pretty face.

When I’m sad,

I think of you.

When I’m being bad,

I think of you.

When I’m glad,

I think of you.

I think of you

when we play.

I think of you

every night and day.

I think of you

and my problems go away.

No matter what I say or do

I think of you.

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…And A Happy New Year

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Categories: Blackhawks, Christmas, Family, Gaming, Hockey, Loves Park, Poetry, Shadowrun

Now that the holiday season is winding down and life is returning to a semblance of normality, I’d like to thank everyone for all the gifts I’ve received throughout the year. 2009 has been a tough year for many(the McCaskey family included) and the help, support and camaraderie of family and friends has been invaluable. Your gifts, both tangible and otherwise, have helped sustain us, keep us sane and generally lift our spirits. Thank you.

As we look forward to 2010, there are several reasons to be hopeful:

  • Things are starting to come together with some of the writing projects I’m working on: big news on at least one of them is forthcoming.
  • I’m finally going to be rid of the house in Loves Park that has been the bane of my existence for the last six years.
  • I’m still involved in my first tabletop role-playing game in many years, Alex Rodriguez’s Shadowrun 4th Edition game. It’s epic and I’m happy to be a part of the story, even if I can’t be at every game physically.
  • I should be running my own tabletop game coming up soon.
  • My daughter keeps growing and developing everyday. Some days are challenging, some are a breeze, but she makes it all worthwhile.
  • I will be back in school in the fall, barring any unforseen snafus.
  • The Blackhawks are doing great this year! I don’t want to jinx it, but this could be the year Lord Stanley’s cup returns to the Windy City. At the very least, it’ll be an entertaining ride, even if Chicago doesn’t hoist up hockey’s Holy Grail.

So, here’s to the future. May it be better than our past!

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That’s Right, Bitches!

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Categories: Aegis Studios, Bastille Day, Blog, Cold Sun, Family, RPG, Rush

OK, so I swore I would never do this blogging thing. I lied.
So, what’s going on in Dariusland?

  1. My tooth is killing me. I had a cavity filled on 1 July and apparently it’s aggro’ed the nerve, so now I have to have the tooth removed. I go tomorrow for that.
  2. I’m working on my tabletop RPG entitled Cold Sun. I expect to begin playtesting before the end of the year. Chances are extremely good that it will not be published by Aegis Studios, the company of which I am a partner. More on this to come…
  3. It’s Bastille Day! I would encourage everyone to check out the Rush song entitled, appropriately enough, “Bastille Day,” from their A Farewell to Kings album. Congratulations on your revolution, frogs! (Just remember we did it first. 😉 )
  4. I’m doing some geneology research about my family. There’s some pics of my family on my flickr feed. It’s quite interesting to see where we come from, and just a bit challenging too.

That’s all for now.